*update...chili recipe*

you can find the recipe here

i have loved this recipe for years, but i just decided to play around with it and add some chunky veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots. i also like to garnish with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream. its warm, slightly spicy, and wicked delicious. perfect for a cold winter night.

and btdub, i frigging love my dutch oven!

holiday wrap up and setting goals...

the holidays are winding down and now we're preparing to meet 2011 head on. we had an amazing, wonderfully relaxing christmas, full of family, friends and great times. i got some great gifts, with a definite culinary focus. i got a mini muffin pan, a set of springform pans, a supercute giant cupcake pan, and my favorite, often longed for, a dutch oven! it is beautiful, red enameled and hefty. i plan on christening it this evening with a nice big batch of weight watchers beef and black bean chilli. yummmm

new years eve is tomorrow and i've been thinking a lot about what kind of goals i want to set for myself in the coming year.
one big goal is to take the time to take care of myself and start losing weight again. i've gained over the holiday, and i know that i need to do better. it's time to get serious about weight loss again and get back on track. i've got to.
another big goal is to start keeping a budget and putting money away. we have a new place to save for, and all the stuff that goes along with a major move (and the combination of two people's crap). i want to be as prepared as possible.

what are some of your goals for 2011?


another semester annhilated...

and i can finally release the collective breath i've been holding for the past month.

officially took my last final today at 2:15.

by 3:00 i was slipping and sliding my ass over to the bookstore in the snow to sell some books.

at 3:15 i walked away with a cool $115 and i was a happy camper.

::huuuuuge sigh of relief::

it's over : )

my grades arent completely in yet, but it looks really good that i could get dean's list for the first time ever. i have pushed myself so SO damn hard this semester. i never knew i had this kind of motivation in me, at least academically. it feels good to realize that this potential i have in me actually be achieved.

on the weight loss front, i'm stalled at the moment. but i honestly think focusing solely on school gave me the freedom to achieve my goals this semester. my mind is starting to come back around to weight loss, i'm starting to get that motivation back and its feeling good. i think one of my biggest goals during the break is to focus on what i'm eating, not eating out of boredom, and staying active while its cold and snowy out. i'm going to have a suddenly greater amount of free time and i'm going to struggle to get up in the morning and stay busy as opposed to sleeping in every day and staying up every night.

but joy of joys (warning: sarcasm imminent) the spring semester starts in 3 weeks! then i will be stuck at a grueling pace of classes 5 days a week, plus an internship. gulp. i think i better enjoy my free time while i actually have some.

life is going so quickly its making my head spin. the first leg of school is coming to a close, a career is looming, the guy and i are talking about cohabitation, planning our upcoming (after a nice long engagement!) nuptuals, babies, and so much. i'm going a little crazy with all this future couply stuff. i've for so long been a solitary soul.

at the start of this month we celebrated a year together and it just blew my mind. it feels like a blink of time. i want to spend more time just being us, not planning our futures to the T. i'm trying to slow things down. i know i'm going to spend my life with him, but i dont want to wait until the babies are come and we're far into a marriage to spend time together just being together.

and just as an aside, did christmas sneak up like a bitch on anyone else? freakin christmas is next week and i am SO not prepared.

i need a drink.

have a great holiday y'all.


and when it was finally over...

so the thanksgiving holiday went swimmingly. everyone was together and fed and happy, there was no family drama, and no one barfed.

in all, i'd say it was a huge success.

first things first, i helped my kitchen-ly challenged best friend with a thanksgiving trial run, teaching her about proper turkey care and mashing about 5 lbs of potatos. i also baked pie, because if i didnt, no one in that house would have had pumpkin pie, and that, in itself, is a tragedy. everything went well, my surrogate children enjoyed pumpkin pie for the first time, and the holiday season was kicked off beautifully.

then on thursday my mom and i hosted the big dinner this year at her place, and on top of all the uncles and cousins, we welcomed my fiance and his mother into the mix as well. everyone got along and hit it off really well. and we tried a new tactic this year: buffet line in the kitchen, dinner in the dining room. although not intentional, location of the food, and also location of my seat at the table were a big factor in how i handled myself eating wise and managed to be satisfied without going overboard. i was comfortably sandwiched between raphael and his mother on the far side of the table, meaning that once i sat down, getting back out again would have been really difficult since we squeezed as many people as we could around that big ol table. add in not having platters and bowls and baskets circulating around the table (and sitting there temptingly in front of me), i was able to make my one plate, take my one roll, and have a delicious, satisfying, not at all puke-inducing meal  surrounded happily by my family and loved ones.

and now as we move into december, my house is full of christmasy scents, my tree is up (and i even let the boy help me decorate....minus all my "rules" about proper ornament placement. dont judge lol) and the semester is coming to a close. there is snow in the air, music on my radio, and i couldnt be happier.

i truly couldnt.